Box 189

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact John Renjilian, 203-426-0864


"Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the cigarette trees," go the lyrics to Burl Ives' version of the paean to a hobo utopia, Big Rock Candy Mountain. The Newtown Historical Society can't promise utopia for anyone, hobo or otherwise, but there will be plenty of buzz by and about bees at the Society's next Open House, Sunday, June 23, at the Matthew Curtiss House, 44 Main Street, from 12.00-4.00 PM. Newtown resident Leslie Huston and fellow beekeeper Dean Haines will use the platform of their Bee-Commerce business to show both historical and modern beekeeping equipment and will show an observation hive with live bees enclosed in a glass-sided mini-hive. Huston's goal is to offer helpful guidance to the hobbyist and backyard beekeeper, and will offer products from her business as well. This will be the last scheduled Open House of the spring season.

The Matthew Curtiss House, home of the Historical Society, is one of the oldest buildings on Main Street. It was constructed about 1750, and purchased by Matthew Curtiss in 1781; Curtiss continued to live there until his death in 1824. He is sometimes called Junior, in deference to his father, the first of the family to live in Newtown, though the elder apparently lived in the Berkshire section of town.

But the Curtiss House is not just an old building. Maintained by the Historical Society as a house museum, the Society’s collections on display are intended to represent the House throughout its life, not just the period of Curtiss ownership. Thus, the artifacts range from a tall case clock made in Newtown in the 1780s by Ebenezer Smith, to a nineteenth century weathervane that swung round the barn of Scrabble inventor James Brunot in the twentieth century, to twentieth century graphics and needlework. All the items in the House reflect either a direct Newtown connection or are examples of things that might well have been used in the town, whether for work, play, or to celebrate an occasion. These treasures will all be on view in their context within the Curtiss House, and they aren’t limited to sight: come hear the newly remastered recording of the 19th century Organette! Costumed docents will be available to lead tours, or you are free to walk through the house on your own.

The Newtown Historical Society is an entirely volunteer organization with no paid staff, and volunteer staffing limits the Society to one open house per month during the spring and fall. Please see the website for further information,, visit, or call 203-426-5937.